‘Resist him, standing firm in the faith. . . ’ 1 Peter 5.9
The very mention of a topic such as spiritual warfare can be alarming for many people, raising all manner of images and questions. Indeed, the image that Peter uses in the preceding verse is of the devil as a roaring lion, so that does little to bring comfort to us. It seems to add a whole new dimension to our spiritual lives in which we would probably rather not get involved!
The good news about this verse is that actually we are not asked to do any more than we are already seeking to do – and the results are staggering. Peter calls us to stand firm in our faith; in other words, to hold fast to what we believe to be true about God and us.
Perhaps the main arena for the spiritual battle in which we find ourselves is that of our position with God. The work of the enemy is to condemn, separating us from the knowledge of God’s love for us. It is not so much that God should pour out any more love upon us – he has already given us Jesus – but the battle is about our ability to stand in the truth of what has already been revealed to us. Standing firm does not mean we have to reach out and grasp new things, but rather that we stand in the timeless truths of God’s love for us personally. Specifically, this means God’s self-giving in the person of Jesus and his dwelling in us and working through us in the person of the Holy Spirit.
Rejoice in the truth of these things for you and make them the focus of your own prayers of thanksgiving.
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The Revd John Ryeland, Director of The Christian Healing Mission
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